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NHL Expansion and Relocation, 1942-Present

Last year, we made a map showing the history of NHL team relocation and expansion from the Original Six in 1942 to the current 30 teams in 2014. This year, we decided to improve the map and also show how the logos of each team changed over time. As you can see, most teams stuck to a basic design, but others experimented with a variety of different ideas and images. 

The timeline is as follows:

1942-1967: The Original Six era of the NHL. The teams are the Boston Bruins, the New York Rangers, the Chicago Black Hawks, the Montreal Canadiens, the Toronto Maple Leafs, and the Detroit Red Wings.

1967-1970: Six new teams are introduced, doubling the number of teams in the league. The new additions are the California Seals (changed to the Oakland Seals that same year), the Los Angeles Kings, the Minnesota North Stars, the Philadelphia Flyers, the St. Louis Blues, and the Pittsburgh Penguins. 

1970-1972: The league makes two more additions: the Buffalo Sabres and the Vancouver Canucks. The Oakland Seals have a second identity crisis and switch their name to the California Golden Seals. 

1972-1974: The New York Islanders and the Atlanta Flames join the league. 

1974-1976: The Kansas City Scouts and the Washington Capitals join the league, making the total number of teams now 18. 

1976-1978: The California Golden Seals franchise moves, becoming the Cleveland Barons. The Kansas City Scouts also relocate to Colorado to become the Rockies. 

1978-1979: The Cleveland Barons merge with the Minnesota North Stars and the number of teams drops to 17. 

1979-1980: Four teams from the short-lived World Hockey Association join the NHL: the Edmonton Oilers, the Hartford Whalers, the Quebec Nordiques, and the Winnipeg Jets. 

1980-1982: The Atlanta Flames move to Calgary and become the Calgary Flames.

1982-1991: The Colorado Rockies relocate and become the New Jersey Devils. The Chicago Black Hawks make a minor tweak and change their name to the Blackhawks. 

1991-1992: The San Jose Sharks join the league to kick off the beginning of the rapid expansion era of the '90s. There are now 22 teams. 

1992-1993: The Ottawa Senators and the Tampa Bay Lightning join the league, which now has a total of 24 teams.

1993-1995: The following season, the Minnesota North Stars move to become the Dallas Stars. The Florida Panthers and the Anaheim Mighty Ducks begin to play.

1995-1996: The Quebec Nordiques are now the Colorado Avalanche. 

1996-1997: The Winnipeg Jets become the Phoenix Coyotes. 

1997-1998: The Hartford Whalers move and become the Carolina Hurricanes. 

1998-1999: The Nashville Predators become the 27th team in 1998. 

1999-2000: The Atlanta Thrashers begin to play in 1999. There are now 28 teams. 

2000-2011: The Columbus Blue Jackets and the Minnesota Wild become the NHL's two newest additions in 2000. The Anaheim Mighty Ducks become the Ducks after Disney sells the team, just in time for the 2006 season.There are now 30 teams.

2011-2014: The Atlanta Thrashers move to become the new Winnipeg Jets. 

2014-2015: The Phoenix Coyotes change their name to the Arizona Coyotes. 

The Afternoon Map is a semi-regular feature in which we post maps and infographics. In the afternoon. Semi-regularly. 

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